easy street

I found East Street by mistake.
The plan was to meet my friend Andrea Mann for lunch on Charlotte Street. It was a simple plan, which got more complicated that morning, because she had a meeting (Andrea is the comedy editor for the HuffPost, and she's very funny. I don't know which came first, it's a chicken/egg thing). Actually, I made it complicated, by giving her the 'I don't use this email on my phone, once I leave this is my email so it's better to text' and we were also talking thru facebook, which I also don't use on my phone.. and since I was coming to her office part of town, Tottenham Court Rd area, I also offered that if it wasn't a great day for her, because of the meeting, we could make it another day, so of course, I didn't get the email reply that yes, please, she'd like to make it another day. This is what's wrong with the world, I feel: too many modes of communication. Too much can slip thru the cracks.

So I emerged from the Tube station into the blinding sunlight, and she felt really bad, because I'd travelled all that way. Which I didn't mind at all, because it was an excuse to explore. And besides, I was feeling a bit peckish.
And that's where I stumbled on Easy Street. East Street isn't even ON East Street: it's on Rathbone, which, ironically, coincidentally, serendipitiously, just happens to be the extension of Charlotte Street, where I was meant to meet Andrea. 

East Street is the first London outpost of a brilliant restaurant concept, fresh, well made, totally yummy 'street' food from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Korea, in a very cool setting. It was post lunch crowd when I was there, so the staff were relaxing before the post work drinks/dinner crowd, but the few people that were scattered about were cool and stylish, which in itself is bizarre, as we're talking Oxford Street/Tottanham Court Rd area, not Shoreditch. But that's what's so magic about it: once you're inside, you're in this whole other world.

I ordered the Malaysian noodles with chicken and greens. While there's a great basket on each table of all my favourite sauces, which I fully expected to use, I didn't touch them. This was just the right balance of heat and sweet. I ate til I was full, and asked to take the rest home, and this is where they won my heart. I wasn't handed a plastic dish. Oh, no. Milly, my waitress, took my plate away with a smile, and emerged with the cutest aqua paper shopper (I'd love to keep it as a handbag), with my food tucked into a proper, old fashioned, white Chinese food carton. Which then became, with the addition of more bok choy, my dinner for the next two nights.

Everything about this place strikes just the right notes. They'd be crazy not to open more branches, and I'm sure that's the plan. But it felt special, that beautiful day last week, the first sunny summery day of the season, to be here.

This is global food at its best. It's the kind of place you want to come with a crowd, order everything on the menu, and share. It's got a magic about it, and that's down to the staff. Everyone, from the guys cooking behind the counter to the wait staff to Dale, the manager, have that.. joy.

Next time I meet Andrea for lunch, that's where we're going. For sure.


Jaime Hillman said...

This place does look amazing, I'll be in London at the end of the Summer. Might stop by there for lunch.



jill said...

It is! Hope you can get to London, and thanks for stopping by, Jrae. Love that name - Lady Jrae.